In Abuse, Harassment

To Curse: Harmful Effects of Cursing

Any behavior that is considered as having a socially negative impact on yourself or others, like saying a curse word out loud, is not appropriate no matter who, or how many people do it. Human nature is best served by whatever every individual can do to improve the positive flow of influence and help society exist peacefully. A simple thing like verbal expression can impose self-confidence, calm and uplifting feelings; or, angry and aggressive utterances spread feelings of hopelessness, negativity, and destroy self-image.

Another word for curse is cussing.

Definition: cursing or cussing, is a profane or obscene verbal or written expression, usually of anger, surprise, distaste or aggression. Other words used to describe curse words include cuss words, cussing, oath, swear words, or expletives. It is vulgar or low class speech or action, sometime visible, considered irreverent.

When someone hears kids cussing, they may think it’s just a demonstration of showing their independence and trying to act grown up, but in fact cursing is considered by society as more of an immature behavior, even in adults. When kids flagrantly ignore the no swearing rules at school or anywhere, they are demonstrating rebellion and maybe animosity rather than grown up behavior.

?#@*&%!! How Does This Make You Feel?

The reason why people do not like hearing, or even seeing written cussing or curses, is an emotional response to deep feelings from the origin of a curse word, or the original curse meaning. Many people do not realize that using certain swear words is a promotion of socially unacceptable negatives like verbal abuse, sexual harassment, discrimination and verbal assault. When you think of it this way, there really is nothing cool or socially progressive about swearing.

Is cursing a sin? This is a question many concerned young people ask, but the fact is, it’s not the words that are the sin against other people, it’s what happens to people when someone hears the bitterness and negativity in the voice of a person using cuss words. Even from another room, it has been shown that people some how internalize the cussing as being in some way, directed toward them.

There is no intention to making a person feel good about themselves, enjoy life, or feel better if they made a mistake, when someone uses a cuss word. In fact the opposite is clearly true, when someone swears they are more concerned with making themselves feel better, by releasing angry or frustrated feelings, than they are about the impact of their bad words on children, or other people who can hear what they are saying.

Just about every known religion in the world teaches people to do no harm to others, to be caring and concerned for the welfare of other human beings. Intentionally using bad words to convey an attitude of disapproval or disrespect of another is not considered appropriate treatment of others. Often the reason people allow these kinds of exclamations to come out of their mouths is that they did not stop to think what the effect would be on someone else, and people who study the science of swearing and other communications are just beginning to understand how long-lasting the effects of negative words have on the self-image of people.

It is a common belief in many societies around the world that words we say influence the spiritual realm around us. Bad words have deep roots in the history of curses that were used to bring lifelong harm to people in ancient cultures.

Curses in Historical Times:

Many cultures around the world believe that a curse laid on a family has plagued them throughout generations. The “curse” has existed as a hex, magic spell or occult practice since the beginning of humanity, intended to cause illness, bad luck and even death upon the spirit, or life of another. “Burning in effigy” was a common practice, even in early American history, used as a physical display of hatred, or cursing a person or people.

When you think about the past use of the curse, and how it has evolved, it is understandable why it is thought to be a negative thing, and that swearing at someone could even have a harmful, deep impact on the inner well-being of others.

Does Cussing Show Strength, or Lack of Self-Control?

If someone has a momentary feeling of anger and expresses that hostile feeling out loud, by cussing at someone, even when they move on and forget about it, the damage done to the other person could continue to hurt for years. This is much more unfortunate when the utterance was spoken intentionally, and not in a momentary loss of control.

Professionals in the psychiatric and medical fields often advise people to remove themselves from “toxic” environments, for heaingl emotionally and re-building self-esteem. This illustrates that the things people who are supposed to love us, like our family members, teachers, and other care givers, have a responsibility to maintain an environment that protects and defends children and others around them. If the protective environment is violated by negative attitudes and cussing, the environment is no longer a safe place for living, learning and beneficial development.

In the same way, if the individuals in charge, or monitoring an environment, are not swearing, but allow others to continue to be offensive to children or people present, they are not qualified or responsible enough to understand the negative impact those words, and hostility, can have long-term. It is important that parents teach their children what to do if they feel uncomfortable or threatened in such an environment.

Cussing Indicates Our Inner Thoughts:

Many articles have been written in favor of people releasing tension, feelings of not having control in a situation, or somehow using cuss words as a method of standing up for themselves, but when paying concerned attention to what these articles are explaining, they all end up talking about how the person swearing must somehow be more important than the ones hearing the outbursts. This way of thinking is called self-preoccupied, self-absorbed, or narcissistic.

Leaders in history who have oppressed entire populations, have been found to have developed narcissistic personalities, they did not believe others have the same rights or privileges as they did so it was ok to massacre, make slaves, and degrade entire towns, cities or other countries, for their own benefit. How did these leaders, who harmed entire populations of our world, become so self-important to think it was ok to do the evil things they did?

Historical biographies of some “negatively” famous people are a great source of information and understanding of what happens when people are not brought up in environments that respect other people. Perhaps too much attention allowed them to be focused on an individual getting everything they want. Children have to come to an understanding about how precious other people, living creatures, and our environment is.

Swearing at or about other people can be compared to putting ourselves above others, and assuming that our feelings and self-image has greater importance, or significance, than the feelings, and importance of others. These kinds of attitudes are the first step in narcissistic thoughts that lead to behaviors and attitudes like racism, prejudice and a general degrading of humanity.

How Do We Impact Our Environment?

We always have a choice on how we impact our environment, the people and children around us. Children are affected much more by the influences around them, than adults, because they’re brains are developing, learning and absorbing all day long. It is important that we are sensitive to how much more intense the feelings of children are because of this.

Swearing is not always against the law in our country, though there are instances when swearing is so hurtful, the judges of our court system will punish someone for the offensive or threatening words they said. We have to be the masters of our own law in this case. Decide what is right and what is not, for ourselves, and then decide not to say cuss words that offend others, and not to tolerate environments that are making other children or people feel bad.

One person at a time, can make a significant difference by choosing to be encouraging and understanding when someone makes a mistake, or is different or has some kind of a problem. It means we have to take a minute, stop and consider what might happen if we say what we are feeling, monitor our words before we speak them.

Just because someone we know or are friends with, says something unkind or in anger, doesn’t mean it is ok for us, we have to make our own high standards and stick with them. Sometimes, we have to be the ones to let someone else know that saying cuss words is hurtful to others as well. It can be as simple as saying, “I don’t like it when you say that word”, or “When you say that it hurts my feelings”.

By ages five and six years, kids are thinking that using potty language is funny, by tween and teen years, programming on TV and video games are saturated with F-bombs. Coming into these situations, are the perfect opportunities, to begin helping the youth in our sphere of influence form their own opinions of how cussing can hurt the feelings of people we care about.

Some families with parents willing to admit they let inappropriate words fly on occasion, set up a large jar somewhere in the family room for payments of penalties for saying bad words. The penalty can be self-imposed or family members can have input, money paid or chores can be done in penance. The best way to handle family awareness of what to do when someone says a cuss word, is keep the interactions light, less accusatory and more friendly and forgiving.

Learning self-control begins at home, feeling safe to make mistakes at home will extend most children’s willingness to self-correct when they are out in the world. Swearing and the need for emotional self-defense has been linked in studies related to people who are insecure and have poor self-image issues.

Teaching our children that everyone not only makes mistakes, but can, and should take responsibility for their stuff, begins the healthy approach to self-acceptance, and the acceptance of differences in others. Finding a true balance to our own self-control and social behaviors, is the key to having respect for ourselves and deserving the respect of others.

Opposing inappropriate behaviors like cussing may not be the trendy position in our society today, but if being a rebel of society means standing against people picking on others, making people feel small or inferior with the choice of the words we use, and stopping for a minute when we are getting too frustrated, let the rebellion begin.

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1 Comment

  • Christian Costanzo-Vignale
    Apr 02, 2016 at 08:18 am

    It’s all about context, it makes no sense to ”ban” cursing as if it’s that bad. It’s just words that people give such powerful meaning to. To protect children from swearing is like trying to protect them from hurting themselves, it’s gonna happen no matter what. I’d rather my future kids learn swearing from me than from their friends at school.

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